04-23-2007, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Looks like BigMed did something right for a change.
Looks like BigMed did something right for a change. Another case
where they're emulating what Skep's doc did 60 years ago.
I'm not excited about BigMed's use of a drug, but their increasing reliance
on drawing and culturing the patient's blood immune cells to fight the cancer.
Reported April 26, 2007
Prostate Cancer Breakthrough
DALLAS (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Today's doctor's visit is one Bruce Tower didn't know he'd be able make. "Anytime you hear the 'C word,' it's automatic I'm going to die," he says.
One in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. When the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, standard treatments like chemo and radiation don't always work.
Tower, a proud grandfather and soccer coach, was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago. Radiation, hormone therapy and steroids helped for a while. But when the cancer came back, he was out of options.
"It got to a point that there were no more treatments," Tower says. So, he joined a clinical trial for a new drug called Provenge.
It works almost like a vaccine: The patient's blood is drawn. His immune cells are mixed with a prostate cancer protein and a stimulant to make the immune system more active. The new cells are then infused back into the patient.
"They actually go and educate your body's other immune cells to go and attack the cancer cells like Pac man in the old video games," John Nemunaitis, M.D., Executive Director of the Mary Crowley Medical Research Center in Dallas, tells Ivanhoe.
The FDA is expected to review Provenge in May. Doctors say side effects are minimal, especially compared to other options like chemo or radiation. The only known side effects are mild flu-like symptoms.
In a clinical study, the therapy tripled survival rates in the men who received it. In the study, the therapy was given three times -- two weeks apart. And unlike chemo and radiation, Provenge is working all the time.
Prostate Cancer BreakthroughDr. Nemunaitis says, "When you turn on the immune system, when you're sleeping or on vacation or in between jobs, the immune system is fighting the cancer constantly, 24 hours a day."
Tower says he is, too. "I think if you give into it its going to overcome you and that's not in my personality." Two years after receiving Provenge, doctors say the swelling in his lymph nodes and his PSA cancer markers are down. He says, "I feel like I have a new lease on life."
This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on: https://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_ch...?storyid=15943